March 15 – 21, 1998

from the Up-To-Date dept

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The not always serious, 
not always weekly update
on the Hi-Tech Industry
March 15th - March 21st
Back with 100% Pure Up-To-Date
Accept No Substitutes
Say that again... 
"We're getting the 'zine' out of 'ezine.'" 
- Aaron Sugarman, VP at in 

"I can build a company in one or two days in the U.S." 
- Olivier Zitoun, CEO of Aplio, a French Internet startup, in Business Week 

"Anybody who would have you believe they have the Internet figured out from a business model standpoint is just kidding themselves." 
- Rogers Weed, publisher of Slate, in the Wall Street Journal 

"Bill Gates is only a white Persian cat and a monocle away from being the villain in a James Bond movie." 
- Dennis Miller, comedian, in an HBO special 

Selling out with style 
Lots of folks selling stakes in their companies.  Yahoo! execs sold out big time, but they're stock is quite high, so it makes a bit of sense.  Execs at Netscape (Andreessen dropped 25% of his holdings), Quantum, and E-Trade all sold out while the stocks are pretty low (translation: uh oh)... 

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like 
The market had quite a nice week, but you wouldn't know it if you just followed tech stocks... Micron losing much more money than expected... Iomega warns of huge loss (Wall Street expected a profit - ouch)... Bay Networks misses estimate by a long shot... Rockwell warned that its earnings will be well below last year's due to weakness in the modem market... Speaking of which, 3Com is set to announce third quarter earnings on Tuesday.  Wonder what their take on the modem market will be... Also, Adobe is set to announce first quarter earnings this week... 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week... 
Compaq and DEC is nothing.  Watch for Compaq to merge with Intel and become the true IBM killer (would you believe I heard this from multiple sources?)... Disney to buy Apple?  Alliance more likely... Intel is dissuading top name box makers from buying its entry-level Celeron processor by charging higher prices, in order to keep up demand for its 
other chips... 

Berating the obvious: (they call this news???) 
The government doesn't see anything wrong with cookies (of course not - anything that makes spying on you easier can't be a *bad* thing, now could it?)... Of course it happens two weeks *after* I purchase a domain name! Network Solutions has decided to stop putting $15 into a fund for Internet infrastructure, and thus lower their domain name prices (anyone up for a  class action suit?)... ISPs say that there is too much demand for their services (and who was predicting a demise of ISPs again?)... A lot of press for Yahoo's new online service through MCI (and if I see another report calling it an "AOL killer" I'm going to have to scream at someone)... The US government has only fixed 35% of its Y2K problems... Be releases BeOS for Intel (not a bad deal)... Kid who said mean things about a teacher on his own website shouldn't be suspended, says court... AOL CEO Steve Case apparently doesn't feel he has enough personal liability to worry about after being proposed last week as a director of the new WorldCom/MCI.  Now, he's been nominated to the board of the New York Stock Exchange... Microsoft sets Windows 98 release date in June (let the poll begin: how long until it's postponed?  What's the reason?  When will the actual release date be?)... Ex-"Special Master" in the Microsoft/DOJ case, Lawrence Lessig (the man who once equated Microsoft with Satan) was leaning towards the DOJ side of the case (go figure)... Meanwhile, the DOJ, which just can't get enough of this Microsoft case, has expanded it to include issues related to Java... IBM predicts a huge market in helping Europe prepare for the conversion to the EMU (assuming the world doesn't end with the Y2K problem, right?)... Netscape finally realizes that its competing for eyeballs with Yahoo! and Excite and thinks to renegotiate deals with  the two (of course, what Netscape doesn't realize is that they don't know what they're doing when it comes to content)... Microsoft lines the pockets of more folks in DC than in the past (gee... I wonder why?)... Apple to focus on the publishing industry (shouldn't that be "Apple struggling to keep the only market it still has some presence in"?)...  Another company,  Compact Connection, is going to get into the online music business.  It is currently a wholesaler of music.  Suddenly, they feel they can "establish a major presence on the Internet".  Good luck... More discounting.  Compaq, followed by IBM, discounted machines.  Intel makes it easier for them by lowering prices on chips... Meanwhile, Intel says that they still think the PC market is strong... The European Union "formally" criticizes the US  Internet address plan (now that it's "formal", you *know* the US folks are shaking with fear)... in yet another AOL exclusive deal (YAAOLED?  Nah...)... I-Link to offer Internet telephony for long distance at 4.9 cents a minute (how low can you go?)... Eugene Kashpureff, AlterNIC's CEO, and the man who fled the country after net-jacking all traffic to InterNIC's site, pleaded guilty to computer fraud... Virus for Microsoft Access... Infoseek focusing on Europe... Sega shuts down Saturn in the US... Yet another MSIE bug... Compaq/DEC merger may be take longer than expected, as FTC wants more info... Lots and lots of news about the young hacker who took control of an air traffic control system: seems that, despite his age, he's going to be treated as an adult criminal... A bunch of protestors in the Philippines waited for Bill Gates with cream pies, but  somehow he got past them (is this becoming a trend?)... 

The big one of the week (in my opinion) is HP's breaking with Sun on Java, saying that Sun is charging too much.  HP is going to create its own Java, and refer to it as "Java compatible" to avoid trademark infringement. Sun's response?  They're "happy".  They say the competition will be good, and they have no problem playing Intel to HP's AMD.  Wow... Compaq solves its inventory "problems" by giving away free monitors... CyberCash strengthened its competitive presence against HP's Verifone by purchasing ICVerify Inc. for not very much... Network Associates has gotten rather sneaky of late.  Its latest move is to sell PGP outside of the US through a Dutch subsidiary, which built its version of the software based on a book written by Phil Zimmermann... Alltel and 360 Communications to merge in a deal worth more than $6 billion (those small communications companies are finally beginning to make a difference)... IBM, adding to its manufacturing of microprocessors for AMD (and it still does Cyrix) has agreed to manufacture chips for IDT... Sendmail to have anti-spam feature (not a bad deal considering that approximately 75% of all computers routing email use Sendmail)... Peapod, one of the bigger name online grocers, is going to setup warehouses, rather than just going through distributors... @Home and Road Runner have called off merger talks... buys ending the argument over the website... Ralph Nader, fresh off the attack on Microsoft, now attacks WorldCom.  He also sends a note (apparently written with MS Word by one of his staffers) to computer companies asking them to install non-MS operating systems (remember, this is the guy who doesn't even *use* a computer)... Ciena makes a deal with Sprint... Whole Earth Networks is sold (end of an era?)... The DOJ suggests its willing to give up its fight for key encryption... Meanwhile, Ron Rivest has released a paper suggesting a totally new way to protect data (without involving encryption) - a system called "winnowing and chaffing" that basically adds extra "noise" data.  This seems to present a possible way of by-passing US gov't crypto export controls, since it's not really crypto... People are suing Electronic Arts and Origin for Ultima Online, saying that the product is buggy, and that they "tricked" people into using it... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology: 
At Sun, you will be fired if it is found that you have a modem on your desk... Honoria in Ciberspazio, the online opera (yes, that's about all I want to know about it, too)... A 30th anniversary modem from Hayes... 20% more people have filed their taxes electronically this year, according to the IRS... This is a great story: the FBI, apparently, purchased a list of email addresses of system administrators and spammed them at least twice in the last month.  When confronted about this practice, they first 
apologized, and asked for help from one of the complainers in configuring their email server!  Later on an FBI spokesman denied that the FBI would even do such a thing... 

A study from IDC says that 73% of companies buying network computers are using them to replace PCs.  Most reported using IBM NCs, but many said they were using Sun's (which is interesting, considering Sun really only released the product a few weeks back)... A very misleading study from Deloitte Touche says that high tech manufacturers are ignoring customers and building with a technology focus (while this is true in many instances, it also misses some very important points on *why* this happens)... According to the Online Banking Report, the number of households doing at least some banking online last year nearly doubled to 4 million... Another study from IDC says that number of small businesses to use PCs is now at  78% (strikes me as low, but I guess there are some businesses that really don't need one)... According to Forrester, 36% of North American households have no interest in buying a computer no matter how inexpensive they become  (my guess is that this is not a static number, and many of those folks will change their minds)... A new study by IPSOS-ASI shows that banner ads work extremely well on AOL users... A study of ISPs by KPMG shows huge revenue growth (once again, what was that about ISPs going under?)... CompuServe's backbone, owned by WorldCom, is the fastest Internet backbone, according to Keynote Systems and Boardwatch magazine... According to Killen & Associates loans (both for homes and cars) will move onto the Internet at a fairly rapid pace... FIND/SVP and Cyber Dialogue have released a study showing consumer support for Internet appliances... February's top web sites were the same (surprise surprise) as January's according to Media Metrix... IDC shows that the market for memory chips is going to shrink by nearly 10% this year... +Plans is releasing a survey showing a "generation gap" for Internet users.  Older users use the net to keep up on news, while younger users use it for "work and play"... According to a study by the Meta Group, companies are offering higher salaries to IT workers, and having to cut back on training programs to do so... 

Finally starting to hear more about image manipulation software.  It seems like a few products are finally getting up to the same caliber as Adobe's PhotoShop.  PaintShop Pro is beginning to gain some attention, as is GIMP for Unix (Gnu Image Manipulation Program).  Makes you wonder how much longer Adobe can get away with charging such high prices... 

Memes o' the week: 
Cross media leverage: Acclaim is set to take the wildly popular television show South Park and turn it into a video game (I'm scared of the result, are you?).  Meanwhile, the producers of Die Hard are planning on making a movie based on Lara Croft from the video game Tomb Raider... Automotive computing backlash.  A new study by the Society of Automotive Engineers and the big three US automakers is looking into the hazards (in terms of distractions) of adding all these neat gadgets in cars... 

Too much free time: 
Um... don't quite know what to say, but if you ever played Rock, Paper, Scissors, here's a site for you:  

Up To Date is written by Mike Masnick from whatever news he hears from whatever sources they happen to come from.  It is not intended for any uses other than as one of many possible ways to follow what's going on in the hi-tech industry.  I certainly wouldn't rely on it as your only source of info.  And, of course, my comments may not accurately reflect reality.  

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